The Tamil Nadu government has said it won’t allow Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches that involve Sri Lankans to be held in the state. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said the recent agitations in the state regarding a resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council revealed the anguish on the issue.
The strife in Sri Lanka was a lamentable saga launched by the Sri Lankan government — using the Sri Lankan Army against Tamils, the letter said, adding this had resulted in genocide against a defenceless civilian Tamil population and the decimation of thousands of innocent women and children. These human rights violations had been extensively documented in the international media and condemned globally, it said.
“These painful events of genocide of innocent Sri Lankan Tamils have had a deep impact on the people of Tamil Nadu, who have been severely shocked, pained and angered by these barbaric acts. Recently, against the background of increasing and credible evidence of continuing atrocities against Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil Nadu witnessed mass agitations, hunger strikes, self immolations and the large-scale spontaneous involvement of many sections of society, including the student community, protesting against the Sri Lankan action against the Tamils,” the letter said.
It added all political parties in the state had repeatedly voiced concern on the issue. The atmosphere was, therefore, already surcharged with popular public opinion against the Sri Lankan government.
“I understand almost all the participating teams have Sri Lankan cricketers as team members,” the letter said.
“In such a hostile and tense environment, we apprehend the participation of Sri Lankan players in the IPL tournament, with many games to be played in Chennai, would aggravate an already surcharged atmosphere and offend the sentiment of the people,” Jayalalithaa said in the letter.
“In view of the popular antipathy and anger in Tamil Nadu against the actions of the Sri Lankan government, the government of Tamil Nadu is of the view that IPL matches involving Sri Lankan players, umpires and other officials shouldn’t be played in Tamil Nadu. The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) may be advised by the government of India to prevail upon IPL organisers not to allow Sri Lankan players, officials, umpires and support staff to take part in the tournament in Tamil Nadu,” she said.
The state would host IPL matches only if the organisers provided an undertaking that no Sri Lankan player, umpire, official or support staff would participate in these matches, the letter said.